Alexandr Tolokonnikov: “The year of terror in Ukraine

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Alexandr Tolokonnikov, own workDEBATE. In Ukraine, there is an anti-terrorist operation going on more than one year. It may be considered the longest one of this kind in the history of fighting terrorism. Armed hostilities, loss of thousands human lives, conversion of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions into the area of humanitarian and environmental disaster. What is this if not a war?

By Alexandr Tolokonnikov, journalist,  founder of “The Ukrainian Foundation for Community Development” (NGO), Head of “Youth and Family Committee of the Public Council of Dnipropetrovsk region”.

Destabilization of the political situation in the eastern Ukraine dates back to the Russia’s annexation of the Crimea. Because of the support of the pro-Russian population by the Russian secret services the mass provocations took place. The Russian flags were hung up on the governmental buildings, the Ukrainian revolutionists were attacked, and national symbols were demonstratively destroyed.

In April 2014 separatists proclaimed the creation of the so-called Donetsk and Lugansk republics. On the 6th of April diversionary units of the Russian Federation supported by the local separatists occupied the Donetsk region administrative buildings. As a result of a practically total absence of military divisions on the territory of Donbass Kiev was not able to promptly react to the situation in the zone of an arising conflict. Already in April the control over the majority of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was practically lost.

After the illegal referendums under the “Crimean scenario” the self-proclaimed “DNR” and “LNR” appeared. Exactly at that time the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine headed by the deputy President of Ukraine Olexandr Turchinov, made a decision to start the anti-terrorist operation. It had soon acquired the characteristics of the full-scale war, however, its official name was never changed. Armed hostilities involving the usage of multiple launch rocket systems, armored vehicles, heavy artillery and even aviation were continued to be called the “antiterrorist operation”.

The characteristic feature of the conflict is the participation of a big number of voluntary troops on both sides. It was the voluntary divisions that were one of the most effective forces fought on the Ukrainian side at the initial stage of military actions. Ukraine appeared not to be ready for war. Corruption in the highest ranks of the army, lack of finance, and, as a result, total plunder of material and technical resources led to the catastrophic decrease of defense potential of Ukraine. The first months of the war the army was supported by the volunteers. Due to the combined efforts of all Ukrainian people the funds for the renovation of the army were raised.

Except for the “rebels”, it was the volunteers from Russia who predominantly fought on the separatists’ side. Russia supplied not only combatants but also weapons and military equipment. Each time when the “humanitarian aid” cargo was delivered hostilities usually aggravated. At the initial stage the Ukrainian troops deliberated a number of Donbass’s localities from the pro-Russian separatists.

Nevertheless, after the direct intervention of the Russian troops and failures of the Ukrainian military commanders many Ukrainian soldiers were killed and taken hostages in the “encirclement trap” near Ilovaisk. As a result of these events the strategic offensive initiative was taken by the Russian troops and separatists forces. Afterwards, the courageous defense of the Donetsk airport by the Ukrainian “cyborgs” took place; the Ukrainian side breached the tactical encirclement near Debaltsevo and gained a number of tactical achievements.

As of today, about 12-15 thousands of Russian military servicemen are present on the territory of Donbass. Together with the separatists’ divisions and 50 thousands of Russian military forces at the Russian-Ukrainian border they present a threat of restarting the offensive and occupying new Ukrainian territories. Irrespective of a number of international peace negotiations, the conflict itself obtained a “smouldering” character threatening to cause new armed hostilities.

At the beginning of the conflict the measures on the restoration of the territorial integrity may be politically justified to be named “terrorism fight”, since people in the whole world feel the terrorist threat for a long period of time. Therefore, public opinion in these countries is not in favour of terrorists. Already for one year Ukraine finds itself in the situation of the so-called “hybrid war” with the Russian Federation and pro-Russian separatists.

The “hybrid” character of this war lies not only in combination of the wide-scale military actions and usage of information and economic means of control but also in the fact that Ukraine maintains economic and diplomatic relations with Russia, while reporting on the Russia’s aggression and calling for imposing sanctions against the aggressor.

When will peace be achieved in Ukraine?

To answer this question we must consider direct and indirect participants of the conflict. Pro-Kremlin separatists are controlled and dependent on the financial and military aid from Russia. During negotiations they always coordinate their actions with Moscow. However, there are groups among the separatists which pursue an independent policy controlling separate localities of Donbass.

These groups are either being liquidated or are undergoing “preventive measures” by the Russian special services experts. It is clear that without the support of Russia the self-proclaimed republics would cease to exist not only for the military but also social and economic reasons. The occupied Donetsk and Lugansk regions are Russia’s means of control over Ukraine. No one was going and is going to incorporate these territories into the Russian Federation because this subsidized region is in fact economically destroyed.

After annexing of the Crimea Russia got another subsidized region which, however, unlike the eastern regions of Ukraine, didn’t require reconstruction after the armed hostilities. In such situation more rational for Kremlin would be formal “hand back” of the self-proclaimed republics territories on the conditions of federalization and keeping the factual control over them. From the future perspective this means causing multibillion expenses from the Ukrainian budget aimed to liquidate the post-effects of the conflicts, as well as blocking attempts of Ukraine to join EU or NATO. Today the position of the West is more unanimous than in the beginning of the conflict.

During the year fairly efficient sanctions were introduced, which considerably increased the outflow of the western capital funds from the Russian economy. However, the sanctions are disadvantageous for a number of the EU states. The purpose of the West is not collapse of Russia, since this may lead to appearance of gigantic zone of military and political instability and growth of China’s influence but prevention of Vladimir Putin from realization of his geopolitical ambitions aimed to create the Eurasian empire in which Ukraine was supposed to play a significant role. Under these conditions the Ukrainian party would receive the support of the western states for maintaining its own sovereignty.

Ukraine is trying to restore its territorial integrity but the current condition of Ukrainian economy, expenses on the infrastructure reconstruction and social expenses on the territories controlled by the separatists nowadays may lead to aggravation of the economic crisis, increase of the public debt and the default scenario imminence.

Bringing UN peacekeeping forces to the zone of the conflict may support the Ukrainian territory and prevent the wide-scale attacks of the pro-Russian separatists and Russian forces. This also means the existence of a “frozen conflict” which will give Kiev time to implement economic reforms and to solve social and economic problems, as well as to increase the military efficiency of the national defense forces. Nevertheless, it’s all only theoretical.

The Russian Federation is the permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with the right of veto, which it will surely use.

Unfortunately, Ukraine also has internal problems. It’s more than one year since the criminal regime of Yanukovych has been overturned. However, not only common people didn’t feel changes for better but also the decisive means for fighting corruption were not introduced. Like in the past, some corruption scandals are arising and the confrontation of oligarchs is going on at the political stage.

Several criminal proceedings were initiated. However, not a single corrupt official of the “all state scale” either from the Yanukovich time or from nowadays was brought to justice. All this doesn’t facilitate strengthening economy and political stability.

Moreover, in future it will be necessary to reconstruct Donetsk and Lugansk regions, since Russia will not make it on its own account. Most likely, the sovereignty of Ukraine on the territories controlled today by the terrorists will be restored. However, the question remains concerning the terms and conditions of such reconstruction.

Russian aggression may stop only when the losses will significantly exceed its achievements. This may be possible only on the condition of consolidation of the Ukrainian society, efficient fight of corruption, implementation of economic reforms and, as a result, the increase of the military efficiency of the armed forces of Ukraine. Approximation of the live standards to the European level and economic development will bring Donbass closer to Ukraine sooner that any war.

By Alexandr Tolokonnikov

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18 KOMMENTARER

  1. Finna fem fel, eller vad var syftet med denna skamlöst antiryska pamflett? Den nuvarande ukrainska ledningen tog makten genom en illegal kupp som inte hade lyckats om inte NATO hjälpt till. Precis som i Libyen, Egypten, Irak, Afghanistan osv blir allt mycket bättre bara FN och NATO får hjälpa till (obs ironi).
    Holodomor kallas folkmordet på trettiotalet då bolshevikerna beslagtog födoämnen till priset av upp till fem millioner döda på grund av svält. Påpekas bör att det var judar på alla ledande positioner. Sen kom tyskarna och motade bort ryssarna och mottogs med jubel i Ukraina. Därav kommer sig att nazism är populärt i Ukraina. Därefter vanstyrdes landet i några årtionden och nazismen undertrycktes fram till kuppen i Kiev då en ny generation judiska marionetter tog över makten den här gången sporrade av väst som inte såg något fel med att ha med nazister att göra.
    Mitt intryck är att ukrainarna blev tagna på sängen, ty medvetenheten om historien kan inte ha gått helt förlorad. Jag misstänker också att syftet med agendan för Ukraina, som en gång var hjärtområdet för Kazaristan, där majoriteten av dagens judar härstammar från, är ett område som ska rensas etniskt och återbefolkas av judiska kazarer den dagen Israel imploderar.

  2. Jag förstod att denna debattartikel skulle väcka en del kritiska frågor. Jag har inför Tolokonnikov lagt fram min egen uppfattning för situationen som handlar om den tydliga aktiva påverkan som Väst/EU/USA har i händelseutvecklingen. Tolokonnikov har förståelse för det och är öppen för debatt, på engelska!

    Skriv alltså gärna kommentarer på engelska så ska vi se om Tolokonnikovs artikel kan bidra till den allmänna förståelsen för helhetssituationen i Ukraina.

    /redaktören

  3. Alexandr Tolokonnikov
    You live embedded in a fog of disinformation on every level. The only hope for you to clear your mind is to seek information which criticizes the geopolitical agenda of the US and you won’t find anything as long as you remain connected with NGOs – they are all fronts for that agenda. When you get wiser, the americans won’t have any use for you – they want brainwashed puppets and they dont care what happens to Ukraine, they rather want Ukraine to be a failed state than to come back as a constructive partner with Russia.
    Ukraine was subjected to one of many angloamerican-financed regime change operations. Aided by the commonly ocurring unknown shooters provoking both sides. This angloamerican technique goes back to at least 1917. Those terrorists were hired by the US, and they continued their terrorist activities by deliberately shelling civilians in the east calling them colorados. The eastern ukraineans where to be ethnically cleansed and thus massmurder of civilians was not collateral damage but a wanted effect.
    The present fascist regime in Kiev that you defend has shown its true colors recently by murdering, and otherwise eliminating opposition. In three months 11 people have been eliminated – one of them Oleg Buzina. Even the murder of Boris Nemtsov in Russia is suspected to be tied to the Kiev regime – presumably to provide an excuse for the death squads in Ukraine.
    Further the fascist phenomenon goes back to before the nazis invaded. Britain was actively backing fascism from the 1930s and on to the 1960s. From 1991 the anglosaxons have been doing everything to build hatred against Russia. Moreover without generous funding from the anglosaxons Hitler would never have risen to power. He and all other fascists have been sponsored by the anglosaxons.
    During the so called holodomor, the anglosaxons refused to accept payment in russian gold for vital industrial equipment and demanded payment in grain. The anglosaxons wanted to provoke starvation. Later US propaganda has vastly exaggerated the extent.

  4. Even though I don’t share the view of the author I want to pay tribute to the editor for publishing this. This is how mainstream media should work. Let all sides be heard.

    I am sure that Russia has been deeply involved in Eastern Ukraine but not as open as it is claimed in the West. They are not responsible for starting the conflict although the history between Russia and Ukraine in the framework of the Soviet Union is an important part of the explanation. They have been forced to act to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing.

    What has been forgotten in the debate, except that Yanukovych was elected, is that the inhabitants of the Crimea voted for autonomy “Ukrainian independence referendum” when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Their desire was ignored by the outside world. This gives some legitimacy to the referendum in 2014 and the incorporation of the Crimea as part of Russia.

    In war the worst in people come forward. It has probably been committed atrocities on both sides, although the East acted in self-defense. The cause of the conflict lies in the West and is ultimately about the world economy and power of the world.

  5. Mr.Tolokonnikov, how do you justify the aggressive and provocative agenda that Washington and its “EU-puppets” has towards Russia by setting up NATO troops close to the russian border in the baltic states and in eastern Europe, allthough there are no clear evidences that russian troops should be involved in the Ukraine-crise. Russia is blamed for intervening in the conflict, for having shooting down the Malaysian aircraft, for having submarines in the swedish archipelag – but never any evidences, only speculations and propaganda.
    Mr. Tolokonnikov, in this conflict it is the Ukrainian and the pro-russian separatists fighting each other, but there is a third part that is agitating the conflict and for sure is gaining on it.
    To get peace it is needed to deal with this hidden part.

  6. Mr. Lagerström
    We are just a small stone between two millstones. We were hounded each other through the media. Our government is interested in continuing the war, because it covers a money laundering scheme! We do not hope in anyone!

  7. Thanks for the answer Mr. Tolokonnikov. It is interesting what you say about your government -that it keeps the war going in order to cover money laundering, and “We do not hope in anyone!” I do not think that the big loans from IMF and the friendly attitude from Washington and EU is favorable to your people in the long run. It is a disservice that could put Ukraine in similar position as other countries that US has “helped to democracy”.

  8. Alexandr Tolonnikov
    You sure are a political creature. Your side is sitting in the warmt of your houses and raining shells and missiles over the eastern civilians. But I understand that it would be dangerous to show opposition against the fascist regime and I think what you mean is you are not free to speak.
    Again you say you are between two millstones. Not true, there is only one aggressor, the anglosaxons and their evil empire and all their puppets/whores. The russians are a good partner led by worthy statesmen. Worldwide corruption and organized crime including the money laundring you speak of is a recurrent facet of the western banking oligarchy and got access to the former Sovjetregion as the blessing of liberalization swept in. Amen!

  9. Ulf Lagerström
    I agree with you completely, loans simply kill the economy of Ukraine, and the worst part is that the money is not spent on the needs of the people 🙁 But we did not ask us to put before the fact. What is your opinion out of this situation?

  10. Peter Grafström
    Move to live in Russia, just as you like it! But not in Moscow, go to the Urals, worked in a factory and get your 70 euros a month, that’s when I was ready to discuss with you the prospects for unification with Russia. We do not need no Russian is not the United States. We want tains his fate.

  11. Alexandr Tolokonnikov
    China has low wages too, what has that got to do with? Everybody does business without having to import all conditions of living. Being a partner with Russia means you would have other options than the usury you are subjected to from the IMF. You dont seem to see the connection because you expected to get something from the west just because they are rich. Its the other way round: they are rich because they never give anything just take. Russia actually financed the industry in the east in order to provide jobs there.

  12. Alexandr Tolokonnikov
    “The politicians of the European Union believed that the events of Maidan Square were spontaneous and that the demonstrators wanted to leave the authoritarian Russian orbit and enter the EU paradise. They were amazed at the publication of the conversation of the Under Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, referring to her secret control of events and saying her goal was to “F—k the EU” (sic). [8] Henceforth, they no longer understood anything about what was happening.
    If they had allowed free research in their countries, they would have understood that by intervening in Ukraine by organizing the “regime change,” the United States ensured that the European Union would remain in their service. The great anxiety in Washington, since the speech of Vladimir Putin to the 2007 Conference on Munich Security, has been that Germany might realize where its interest lies: not with Washington, but with Moscow. [9] Gradually destroying the Ukrainian state, the United States is cutting the main communication channel between the European Union and Russia. You can look at the succession of events from every which angle, you will not find any other explanation. Washington does not want Ukraine to join the EU, as evidenced by Madame Nuland’s remark. Its sole purpose is to transform the territory into dangerous ground to cross.”
    http://www.voltairenet.org/article187529.html

  13. Alexandr Tolokonnikov
    My opinion is that both fighting parties first of all should stop the violence and stick to the Minsk peacedeal. It should be very clear from both parties that there for sure is a third hidden party that is gaining political, military and economic credits for having the crise going. If the correct group or persons that agitate the conflict are found, and if clear evidences of their crimes can be demonstrated, I am sure the conflict would be much easier to solve. -There is always a hidden third party in all unsolvable conflicts and wars.

  14. Ulf Lagerström
    I understand the need a third force, which will be really interested in ending the conflict. But now, all parties to the conflict, as the vultures tear and destroy Ukraine, and it is not clear how to stop it!

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